SOURCE: Butkus Foundation

Butkus Foundation

July 17, 2017 09:00 ET

Butkus Award® 33rd Season Watch Lists Announced

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - July 17, 2017) - The Butkus Award® honoring the nation's best linebackers kicked off its 33rd annual selection process today by announcing its collegiate and high school pre-season watch lists.

Mirroring the legendary "51" pro jersey of the award's namesake Dick Butkus whom NFL Films considers the best defensive player in football history, each watch list features 51 players identified by a 51-person selection panel of deeply experienced coaches, talent evaluators and journalists. Appearance on the watch list is not required to become a winner.

The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 42 universities, including six returning semifinalists and one returning finalist, Josey Jewell of Iowa.

The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 50 secondary schools across 23 states. Florida (7), California (6) and Ohio (5) claim the most candidates.

Semi-finalists will be named October 30, finalists November 20, and winners will be notified on or before December 5. The Professional winner will be announced in early 2018.

The 2016 Butkus Award winners:

  • Professional: Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
  • Collegiate: Reuben Foster, Alabama (now San Francisco 49ers)
  • High School: Dylan Moses, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (now Alabama)

Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while helping spread the word about Butkus' I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to performance-enhancing drugs.

The Butkus Award, and on Facebook at 51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Selection criteria is located on the official website. The Butkus Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football's most prestigious awards. Its 23 awards have honored more than 800 people since 1935. Visit for more information.

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